When we look around, we see most junk food items like cereals and packaged snacks targeting at our young children. Whether it’s through receiving free stickers inside, their favorite cartoon character on the front package, or a toy in the cereal box, there is no doubt this makes it only more challenging for parents to feed their children healthy and nutritious meals. Children end up having sugar-loaded breakfast cereals, with most bursting in harmful food coloring too. When children eat meals from their school lunch, they’ll most likely consume more sugar, processed food, and a meal lacking proper nutrition. Your child may then come home and pick a fight at eating their broccoli, or reaches for cookies before dinner.
What can you do as a parent to deal with picky children who are simply distressed at even the thought of eating something healthy?
First and foremost, get your child educated! I can’t emphasize enough: don’t ever use pressure or force to feed your child a vegetable- it’ll only cause resentment. Instead, teach your child about their body and what effects food has on their mood, energy levels and even their academic achievement. Have your child make a journal, and track their meals, and how their day is- seeing the connection between food, their mood, and energy will open their eyes to making better choices.
Furthermore, allowing your child to take part in writing out the grocery list, or joining you to pick out the fruits and vegetables will cause them to increase their interest in tasting them. Allowing children to interact with preparing a snack, dinner, or simply a smoothie, will cause them to be excited about eating or drinking it. I’ve shared in depth-tips as well as plenty of child-approved recipes in my book, Sunnah Superfoods. Next time you’re whipping up dinner, let your child help wash the salad vegetables, stir the food, or take small steps in assisting you with it. Observe the difference in your child’s interest in eating healthier meals, without feeling like it’s by force or pressure.
Be sure to also read my piece on the fruits and vegetables that you should aim to buy organic and those you can spare the extra bucks and purchase conventional- without any harm to your health.
Noor Hani Salem is an author, speaker, and Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, from Michigan. Noor works with clients in better understanding their bodies and healing with natural foods through her wellness practice, Holistic Noortrition. She presents various workshops, school lectures, group coaching classes, and community lectures on the topic of holistic health. Noor recently published her book, SUNNAH SUPERFOODS, a culmination of life-changing recipes and remedies, with a foreword by Dr. Waleed Basyouni. Her book consists of prophetic hadith, modern research, and delicious recipes, and is in the process of being translated into other languages.